San Quentin State Prison (SQ)

Main Phone:(415) 454-1460

Physical Address: Main Street, San Quentin, CA 94964 (Directions)

  • Inmate Mail: San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA 94974
    (make sure to include Inmate’s Name and CDCR number as well as last known housing)
  • PIA: Furniture manufacturing, mattress manufacturing, Code 7370, CTE Construction Labor, Health Facility Maintenance
  • Vocational: Machine Shop, Plumbing, Computer Literacy, Electronics, Building Maintenance
  • Academic: Adult Basic Education, High School/GED, Transitions Pre-Release, Literacy Program, Distance Education for Associate and Bachelor Degree Programs
  • Other: Youth Diversion, Religious, Arts in Corrections, Victim Awareness, Drug & Alcohol Treatment/Diversion, Bicycle repair, Marin Shakespeare, Prison University Project, Youth Offender Program, Anger Management, Pen Pals, Yoga, Gardening, Environmental Conscientiousness; SQ News; SQ Radio and TV; Cultural Awareness, Veteran’s Programs, Reentry, Health Awareness

DRP Programs

CDCR’s Division of Rehabilitative Programs offers a wide range of programs for inmates. Check to see which programs are offered at this institution.

Family Liaison Service Specialist

CDCR provides through a contract with a community-based organization an on-site Case Manager as a family reunification liaison for inmates and family members, to assist with an inmates pre-release preparation; and conduct Parenting and Creative Conflict Resolution classes for inmates. Please call the Institution to contact the Family Reunification Liaison.

San Quentin is an unincorporated community conveniently located along Interstate 580 and a mile from Interstate 101 in Marin County. Thirty Minutes from San Francisco and twenty from Oakland, San Quentin the community and state prison hug the San Francisco Bay with some of the most incredible views anywhere in the United States and beyond. Within a half hour there are museums, college and professional sports teams along with parks and big city attractions that are easily accessible. Day trips to Muir Woods and Stinson Beach add to the San Francisco Bay Area allure. The unparalleled diversity of the area appeals to most making it an extraordinary place to work, live and relax. Although the city of San Francisco is known for foggy, cold weather, San Quentin is north of the city and the fog bank and is usually warmer and sunnier.

san francisco golden gate bridge

san francisco pier 39


San Quentin State Prison is California’s oldest and best known correctional institution, which was established on the site currently known as Point San Quentin, in July of 1852, as an answer to the rampant lawlessness in California at the time. During its construction, inmates slept on the prison ship, the Waban, at night and labored to build the new prison during the day. San Quentin housed both male and female inmates until 1933 when the women’s prison at Tehachapi was built. The prison rests overlooking the bay on 432 acres, and is located just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the county of Marin. The walled prison is made up of four (4) large cell blocks (West, South, North, and East Block), one (1) maximum security cell block (the Adjustment Center), Central Health Care Service Building, a medium security dorm setting and a minimum security firehouse. The state’s only gas chamber and death row for all male condemned inmates are located at San Quentin.

This facility provides both outpatient and inpatient mental health services for patients with a serious mental disorder. The licensed Psychiatric Inpatient Program at this facility is designed to provide more intensive treatment for patients who cannot function adequately or stabilize in an outpatient program.


The area that San Quentin State Prison sits on was originally named, “Puenta de Quentin” after the Native American Chief Quentin (“Kaynteen”). The actual spelling and pronunciation has been obscured in history. However, a 1834 Spanish land grant clearly establishes the name “Puenta de Quentin”. The U.S. Coast Survey Team of 1850 named the site, Point San Quentin.

San Quentin State Prison is California’s oldest correctional institution. It was built in July 1852 on the site known as Point San Quentin, Marin County. The 20 acres of land was purchased for $10.000.

San Quentin was initially established to replace a prison ship known as the Waban. There are no historical proof of facts, but folklore has it that on July 14, 1852, (Bastille Day {French Revolution}) the Waban arrived off shore with 40 to 50 convicts. San Quentin State Prison has been known as the “Bastille by the Bay”.

By October 12, 1852, a contract to build the first cell block had been negotiated.

warden ron broomfieldRon Broomfield has been Acting Warden of San Quentin State Prison since February 4, 2020.

Broomfield served as Chief Deputy Administrator at San Quentin State Prison from 2017  to 2020

He served in several positions at California State Prison, Corcoran, from 2003 to 2017, including correctional administrator, correctional captain, correctional counselor I &II, and correctional officer.  He was a correctional officer at Salinas Valley State Prison, from 2001 to 2003.

He was raised in Mariposa County and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, in English, from California Lutheran University.

Prior to joining the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, he worked as a claims adjuster with Amica Insurance from 1994 to 1999, and he was a jail officer with the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department from 1999 to 2001.

ceo shereef k. arefDr. Shereef K. Aref, MPH, MBB ChB., REHS and CCHP, was appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at San Quentin State Prison on November 13, 2018.

He previously served as the CEO for the California Correctional Center including Northern California Fire Camps Medical Emergency Response Team operations.

During his more than 28-year state career, has served in a variety of capacities. These include associate warden (correctional administrator), correctional counselor II, correctional health services administrator II, regional administrator for health care services, chief of support services for Health Care Services Division, chief of plan surveys and consumer services for the California Department of Managed Health Care, director of permit assistance for the California Environmental Protection Agency, among other positions.

He has worked at CDCR headquarters, San Quentin State Prison, California Correctional Center, California Institution for Men, California Rehabilitation Center, California State Prison at Los Angeles County and Chuckawalla Valley State Prison.

He been responsible for the Central Region of California (12 Institutions), Northern Region of California (11 Institutions) during his tenure with CDCR.

He holds a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in Health care administration and policy from UCLA and a medical degree from Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt.

Local Inmate Family Councils (IFC’s) are a gathering of family and friends of the incarcerated who meet regularly with Wardens to support visiting since keeping strong family connections with loved ones is a powerful rehabilitative tool. These IFC’s promote visiting by clarifying rules and regulations as well as discussing health, education, vocational training, packages, books, and related issues. For more information on connecting with a local IFC, please visit the Statewide IFC website.